Set in Germany in 1945, Skybound brings us Felix, a young Schwarzer Mann, an airfield mechanic with a great admiration and love for flying ace Baldur Vogt. It’s near the end of the war, and the German aces (Experten) are fiercely trying to defend Berlin as the Allied forces attack.
I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this novella, as I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in this era from a German point of view. Most fiction (and film) addressing this period tends to be from the Allied POV, and the reality of German soldiers, pilots, etc. is not even considered. I’d also known that Aleks had a thing for WWII history and I wanted to see how his interest translated onto the page.
As a result, I inhaled this novella, reading it in one sitting. It is at once poignant and bitter, heartening and harrowing. And it was thought-provoking, portraying a different mindset than what is often assumed of all German forces–the virulent Nazi beliefs are not shared by all. I love this novella for its story, but also for what I have learned, and I was especially delighted to learn some German terms (aided by the helpful glossary at the back). I would love to read more WWII-set stories from Aleksandr, and I hope he releases some more in the near future.